- It's the same great God of War;
- Works well on a variety of configurations;
- Pretty wide settings;
- DLSS, FidelityFX, and glorious native ultrawide support;
- You'll run it on a GTX 1060.
- Mouse and keyboard control is fine.
- Framerate drops;
- Light reflections tend to get crazy;
- Maybe… maybe we needed to improve the water animations a little?
These are the days – we can download God of War on Steam. It’s a game that, until recently, was basically an advertisement for the PlayStation. Sony is finally sharing its hits with PC players, and in addition to this game, we'll also be getting Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection this year.
Let's get it right out of the way: Sony seems to take its ports much more seriously than Square Enix took their recent Final Fantasy 7 Remake. God of War on PC is a great game that treats its target platform seriously. If you've never played God of War because you don't own a PlayStation, this is the perfect opportunity to change that. And if you've already completed the game on PS4/PS5, then there's nothing stopping you from completing 100% Steam achievements.
A bit more serious Kratos
The original from 2018 won the hearts of players and conquered markets around the world. The specific reboot of the series that’s been around ever since PS2 hit a bull's eye. When I was going through God of War III sometime in 2010, I felt that while I was having fun, I was also reliving the same story again. The culmination of the trilogy and the final slaughtering of Greek gods allowed the creators to conclude the epic tale and open the way for further development of the franchise. The idea they came up with turned out to be simple, but brilliant – Kratos was transferred to a world of completely different, much colder Norse mythology. In the far north, Kratos looks for a break – he sets up a family and a home. Peace of mind, however, cannot last forever in a game that has "war" in its name. When Kratos' wifey dies, he and his son Atreus set off to scatter the woman's ashes. The journey turns out to be as brutal as the bedlam in ancient Greece, with the difference that this time, we faced gods and monsters from Norse myths.
This reboot, which is actually a sequel, is based on a slightly different concept. We no longer travel alone, but, like in another Sony hit, The Last of Us, with our son constantly accompanying us along the way – the relationship between the strict father and his son is one of the most interesting elements of the game. The pace of the game itself has changed – Kratos moves slower (which doesn't harm the dynamics), and the camera is now closer to him. This makes for an impression that although we know the hero and his story, we are taking part in a completely new, more serious stage of the journey. Kratos himself seems to be much cooler and quieter a hero than in previous installments. Sure, outbursts of anger still happen to him – it's in his blood – but it's not like he runs for 15 hours screaming maniacally and killing everything that moves.
Imperfect, but good enough
This is not a perfect port – it doesn't bring a revolution to the PC market. But it's good enough to give you 50 hours of quality entertainment. If, after the release of FF7 Remake, you were afraid that the game would be released without customizable graphics settings, then rest assured – they're here this time around. While this is arguably not the level of customization we're used to in games like Cyberpunk or Assassin's Creeds, it provides enough leeway to customize the graphics in case you want to negotiate a few additional frames per second.
Technologies such as Nvidia DLSS and FidelityFX Super Resolution from AMD were also implemented, and they're known for further boosting the performance. Also, the framerate cap set at 120 FPS is higher than on PS4/5. At the same time, higher resolutions were not neglected, same as such trifles as native support for ultrawide monitors. Ray-tracing is missing when it comes to bells and whistles, but the truth is that no one really expected it in a 2018 game. And this actually shows sometimes – not all textures are really sharp here – but you'll only notice it when you try to take a screenshot during some dynamic cutscenes – one thing that's clearly last-gen, though, is water animation. However, it's not all that flagrant because the whole thing looks just beautiful.
Since we're at tracing rays, it's seems noteworthy that the creators probably tried poking around the reflections of light, as they can really go haywire sometimes. You don't need a thorough examination to notice that reflections can create some strange effects on walls and materials. However, this is mostly a minor inconvenience that doesn't impact the overall reception. I repeat once again: as a whole, God of War on PC looks gorgeous – the artistic direction makes up for any of these small shortcomings. This game still makes a stunning impression.
A great game, and a really good port. Rejoice, PC gamers, because you can now play one of the best games of previous generation (and according to some, ever) on your fancy, high-speed drives. 2022 couldn't have started better for you.
I tested God of War on RTX 3090 at 3440x1440 with all options set to ultra. Without DLSS, I was able to run it at 80-90 frames, with some drops to 71. These were quite frequent. With DLSS enabled in Quality mode, I achieved 100-110 FPS. We also tested God of War at max settings on an RTX 2080 card at 1080p. Although the game ran in 60 frames, the occasional drops brought it down to 40 FPS. Only enabling DLSS solved this problem. The last test was running God of War on the venerable GTX 1060 in 1080p and... it turned out that you can enjoy smooth gameplay on low and even medium settings.
God of War PC performance – our tests
RTX 3090 – 3440x1440 – ULTRA – 71-100 FPS. DLSS enabled: relatively stable 100-110 FPS.
RTX 2080 – 1080p – ULTRA – 40-60 FPS. DLSS enabled: 60 FPS.
GTX 1060 – 1080p – MEDIUM (original) – 50-60 FPS.
All in all, it's not perfect and I hope the performance will be made a little more consistent. However, it is worth adding that lowering the quality from ULTRA to MEDIUM, for example, doesn't significantly lower the image quality, while at the same time seriously relieving the hardware – so don't be afraid to lower the settings if you feel you need better performance. Huge drops of animation speed happen only on max settings.
If, in turn, you have developed an aversion to game pads as PC owners, then of course you can play with mouse and keyboard. The game is simple and fun, and I didn't notice any problems with the controls, although God of War seems to be designed with a game pad in mind (and I used it for the most part; I only used mouse and keyboard when I needed to quickly solve puzzles such as "quickly destroy 3 symbols to unlock a chest.” I can't help it – I still prefer aiming with a mouse).
Sony to release more exclusives on PC?
I really want to congratulate Sony on a really good port. I'm counting on more PS4 and PS5 games to come out on PC – even if developing their ports must take a few years. We already know about Uncharted, and not so long ago, Horizon Zero Dawn and Days Gone also arrived on Steam. You also hear more and more about Ghost of Tsushima on PC. Personally, I am also counting on The Last of Us.
Our reviews are featured on Metacritic.
Meanwhile, it is appropriate to settle for and max out God of War – a great game, and a really good port. Rejoice, PC gamers, because you can now play one of the best games of previous generation (and according to some, ever) on your fancy, high-speed drives. 2022 couldn't have started better for you.
Matthias Pawlikowski | Gamepressure.com